Chile’s Atacama Desert: An Arid, Alien World

In the darkness of a waning night, our cramped van wound its way up an Andean roadway in a desolate corner of northern Chile. Against the black sky, the profusion of stars stretched all the way to the horizon, cocooning us in a sparkling dome. 

Whales, Walruses, and Polar Bears in the Russian Far East

The polar bear sauntered down the beach toward us. My heart pounded as he squinted in our direction, no doubt weighing the nutritional value of the 20 or so tasty morsels wrapped in fleece, down and Gore Tex just 40 yards away.

Haw River Infuses History, Renews Soul

When you set out to kayak the historic Haw River on an excursion set up for you by someone else, it’s hard to suppress speculative thoughts about your blind date and wonder how it will all turn out.

Riding the Rails in Europe

On my first trip to Europe many years ago, my sister Patty and I traveled around Ireland, England, Scotland, France and Switzerland via our Eurail Passes.  I found standing in front of the big departure boards in the train stations thrilling. 

A Tale of Two Davids

In the Davids of Donatello and Michelangelo lie the stories of the public and the private Florence. This was true in the 16th century, and it is still true more than 500 years later.